INVESTIGATING AN ONLINE PROJECT BASED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COURSE FOR TEACHERS IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATHEMATICS

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Date
2021-03-16
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Johns Hopkins University
Abstract
The purpose of this descriptive case study using a convergent mixed methods design was to analyze teachers’ perceptions of an online science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) PD course. The following three research questions helped guide the study: (a) what are teachers’ perceptions of an online STEM professional development course, (b) how do teachers describe their confidence in implementing a STEM curriculum after an online professional development course, and (c) what components of an online professional development course are perceived as supports and barriers for teachers’ in acquiring pedagogical and content knowledge. Study participants included both PD facilitators and participating teachers who work in schools that have adopted the new STEM curriculum. Data for the study included the organization’s archival records (course satisfaction survey responses), and transcripts from semistructured interviews. Online classroom observations and a researcher’s journal supplemented the main data. Descriptive quantitative analyses were conducted of data from satisfaction surveys and observations. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes within all open-ended response survey questions, interview responses, classroom observations and researcher’s journal entries. Analyses indicated that participants were satisfied overall with the course and their level of satisfaction was dependent on the quality of instruction of their facilitators. Participants identified supports in aquiring pedagogical and content knowledge as facilitators’ availability, shared resources and hands-on demonstrations by the facilitator, and experiencing curricular activities as students; they identified barriers as course technology issues, irrelevant additions to the course, and disorganized breakout rooms. Overall, participants felt more confident returning to their classroom when they had the necessary resources to teach new skills. The dissertation concludes with several recommendations for improving PD participants’ experience in the online course.
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Keywords
Online teacher professional development, Online course design, Project-based learning, Science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Teacher online learning.
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